Review: Kemet – battle at the foot of the mythical constructions
Egypt is my home. Country of hungry sand, that does not lust only for water, but also for blood. The gods have spoken to us again and they want for us to prove our loyalty. And so my friends and comrades plunge headlong into meaningless battles. But each house hears another voice, so even one valley may contain enemies to the death. You say, that we should seek peace? With the current voice of gods, it seems pretty impossible to do.
The gods always like it, when people are suffering. They play with us like puppets. A skin of some of these powerful gods leads the way through a box of board game, that bears name Kemet. Behind its creation is not only French company Matagot, which finished its publication, but above all authors Guillaume Bariot and Jacques Montiage. The illustrations are work of Nicolas Fructus, but also Dimitri Bielak and Emile Denis.
On this really big box of almost divine dimensions (reminds of Cyclades size), you will find name of the game created from elegant symbols, but also a bloody struggle of nations. But while the lid is ruled by a color image, massive fold-out game plan commands it all inside. It has two sides, one of which is always selected depending on the number of players, who participate in the game.
Both areas are very much alike and are divided into desert districts. Some have only a burning sun, but there is necessary obelisk, city or temple elsewhere. River winds through the board, along which lies a few important ports. Map is oriented as a portrait. Packaging also involves a smaller game board for each of players, showing view from side of a pyramid.
Second in line are two types of cards. First of these are divine inverventions (35 pieces), which always have a price effect and phase, in which they can be played. Also 32 combat card contains numbers – three of them meaning power, damage and defense. These values are also printed upside down for the opponent on the other side of the table to read.
This brings us to the cardboard tiles. Most important is almost fifty power tokens in three colors (white, red and blue). Even they have their price, effect and stage, but this time aslo color and level in the upper left corner are important. Another fifty pieces hide victory and action tokens.
For all players is prepared much bigger surprise in the form of twelve unit miniatures and three pyramids. Likewise, two indicator tokens and several cards. All this in five different colors. At the very end, we had seven monsters, that will not haunt players in their sleep. Instead, they will be helping them and even visit their city!
At the beginning of the game, you simply place game board on the table and populate it only with tokens of victory points for five temples and Temple of All Gods lying at the top of the river delta. All square capability pieces (power tiles) are placed to upper part of the board, divided by color to sixteen tokens each. Every color has its own meaning, so while white is primarily devoted to faith and the production of resources, blue is for defense and red allows you to move and attack better.
Each player chooses his color and gets not only his own board, action tokens, combat cards and three pyramids in three distinct colors, but also twelve units. They can send them to cities of their choice. There is also one indicator per player, that starts its journey on board a scale of prayer. From a shuffled deck of divine interventions, each player gets also one card, while the rest creates a drawing deck. Participants also each get three points for their pyramids, which can be distributed as they like and once they jointly determine playing order, match can begin.
Game itself is composed of several days, which are divided into two phases – night and day. And because night is a time of rest, it is a preparatory phase, in which players get two prayer points for their faith, together with random cards of divine intervention. Even at night, it is possible to use some power of ability tiles. Player with the fewest points becomes starter and opens day with his actions.
During the day, which is the main part of the game, players will fill five fields on their own pyramid with their action tokens. Board has drawn nine symbols, that represent activity selection. Players take turns one action at a time, but they may not use any box twice and each level of the pyramid must be used at least once from these five actions.
Despite the daytime, players can turn to God and receive two points immediately after praying. More important for path to victory are other options, but for most of these, there is a price to pay with those points coming from heaven. Let’s start with what is most important for war – recruiting. Player gives up an amount of prayer corresponding to number of soldiers and puts them in his city.
Other action is used to move them. For these purposes, soldiers are grouped in units, that can be moved simultaneously. Basic movement is only one space, but it is possible to increase this with variety of effects. In addition to classic movement, its possible to cross the Nile in port or use transport to obelisk (teleport). Players may not enter opposing city in the same turn, when they arrived in front of its walls.
In the event, that two opposing units find themselves in the same field, battle starts. Players need two combat cards to do this, one is immediately discarded, while second is used to solve the entire encounter. Cards of divine intervention can also support their chances .Value from played cards and other bonuses (also for presence of monsters) is added to number of units and winner is clear (tie goes to the defender). Losses on both sides are determined by numbers printed on combat cards (damage on attacker’s card minus protection on defender’s card).
Every win is awarded with one victory point. Loser has to run away. Interestingly, after the fight, it is also possible for loser to let surviving units be called by the gods and for every hero get one point of prayer. However, there is no division – its all or none.
Players can also get support from some mythical monsters. For this, they first need to get their hands on corresponding skill tile. Monster can then be deployed to any of their towns, they take its card and can move its miniature with one of their units. Monster can not be destroyed (they return to capital of their owner) and does not count towards maximum number of soldiers in the unit (five).
Other actions can be played to support player’s combat capabilities. First one is to increase value on a pyramid, but again after paying a sum of prayer. Not only the provide temporary victory points, but they also enable teleportation. Pyramids belong to the city, so players can easily lose them.
Above all, pyramids provide access to skill tiles, that can then be bought. What can player buy from common offer is decided by level of pyramid in color, that corresponds to the target group. Even so, player must pay purchase price of tile according to its level. Player may never be owning two same tiles.
In the game, players fight for control of temples, but they provide only temporary victory points (tokens) to their rulers, that can easily change their owner. At the end of each round, opportunity to pray to the gods waits again for all players, as well as chance to acquire more much-needed prayer points just because of churches under player’s command. Victory point is also distributed for control of Sanctuary of All Gods, and even to a player, who commands at least two temples.
Game ends, when one of the sides reach eight victory points (number can be altered by players to adjust game length), including those temporary for pyramids. Everyone still finishes playing the current round and then its the end. Winner is player, who has accumulated most victory points by then.
Kemet is a game from which sand is pouring to all sides. It is filled with atmosphere of ancient Egypt and it’s very nice. Moreover, it offers uncompromising battle between players, that are motivated by VPs to attack each other. Its the best option to grab some points out there.
Just the fact, that players board with the pyramid have three floors, all of which must be used each round, is perfect. They can not therefore simply accumulate resources, because every floor is devoted to something else. Strategy of waiting and seeing what happens does not work here. You have to do some aggression, like moving troops or recruiting new units. Game simply will not let players to breathe. In addition, because player chooses one action at a time, they get back to action pretty quickly and flexibly react, which does not allow for unexpected surprises.
Points are then awarded for each successful battle. Thanks to this, someone gets always closer to victory. But path to this is not only about strong military, but also immortal monsters, that are loyal to you like a dog. Everyone is going to want them, because they are a great advantage during the game. They can increases maximum size of unit, while still adding some skills.
Very important are also temporary victory points coming from controlled temples, that allow to attack for victory even from behind, for those, who seemingly have no chance of winning. In the game, you’ll see surprising comebacks and losses.Thanks to this development, game works tremendously dynamically on a longer timeframe.
Battles are simple, but you will not find any dice and a bit of luck. Simply add power units, plus additional bonuses and played cards. This sum is equal to your attack. Now the card will eventually add the uncertainty, that may outweigh scales to the other, seemingly weaker, side. System of discarding one card is here, so players could not count cards. However, they are not only fighting for the win, but also superiority over temples and even built pyramids, that can be stolen.
All technologies are available from the beginning of the game, but to buy most of them, there are conditions to be met based in pyramid levels. Everything is about praying. A player must cleverly divide their resources to simultaneously support his army, but also to improve pyramids and thus enable him to do purchase of new and better pieces. Now tech tree is further evidence of how this game is very cleverly interlinked to the last detail.
While game is govern by strict rules, once you acquire abilities tiles, everything changes. They provide interesting advantages to players and their offer is so wide, that during several games, you are able to try out only a fraction. Because the game is completely about interaction between players, each game is different, although initial conditions are essentially the same.
Game is excellent in all number of opponents, because game map is shrinking along with number of players. This makes match always full of conflicts, which you will enjoy the most. It will not let players to play in their own sandbox, but give them one, small and common room. A let them fight for it.
The game promises to be played in sixty minutes, but this border is more possible with a smaller number of participants. But this is probably expected property in such games. With four and five players, game can easily stretch to two hours. But its adrenaline-charged until the last minute. Individual turns are not long, because players alternate after each action and therefore, there is almost no waiting.
Kemet seems to us as Cyclades (we are preparing a review) on steroids. Of course, they are two absolutely different games, but both tell the story of warfare and deal with ancient times. Even the monsters are in both of them, which might force you to compare. But while the Cyclades have stunning auction for gods, everything here is about pyramids and fights. You will find really much more battles in here, at the expense of territory control. Power ultimately does not mean anything, if you are not liked by gods. Although there is not much to see at first glance, effect of prayer in this game is even stronger.
Game looks absolutely gorgeous. Game board is excellently balanced for any number of players and its detail-packed. And all the pieces and inserts completes processing to perfection. This game simply could not look better.
Kemet shines in the fact, that although its dense, exciting and offers players a wide range of warfare, it still remains very simple at the same time. The game can be taught to everyone. Not to mention, that anyone, who you show it will want to try at least a bite. And if you play one match, you will be immediately caught in sandy world. Atmosphere of this game is just great. Kemet is exactly the golden middle between a game for real players and fun for beginners and even for those enthusiastic strategists, who do not like to count with odds. Kemet is simply an amazing game for everyone.
Review: Kemet – battle at the foot of the mythical constructions
There is no doubt in our mind, that Kemet is an exceptional game. Atmosphere will engulf everyone, who tries it, because the sand is really hungry for blood. Fights are central theme of the game, while offering several paths to victory. Each one includes accumulating victory points, but some of them are earned only temporarily. There are actually no moves, but instead players alternate in choosing one action after another. This allows them to respond very well to each other, but every action still has great importance. Techtree offers not only advantages, but also creatures, that will accompany troops on the board and provide them with benefits. Fighting has almost no luck involved and can be very well planned. Yet the players must not forget, that war needs money, in this case favor of the gods. Game board is precisely balanced and offers perfect experience for any number of players. Kemet is a game, that is meticulous in detail with simple rules, yet really accessible .You will long remember every game played in this world.
Reader Rating0 Votes
great emphasis on warfare
excellent in all numbers
simple rules even for beginners
many paths to victory (all involve combat in some form)